First off, I really hated the name of this pay per view. I didn’t expect much from this one, and actually was kind of bored and annoyed when watching this one the first time. Though, I did give it another look earlier today, so I could give it another try, because I let real life frustrations get in the way of watching this pay per view. After watching it a second time, and actually paying attention with a clear mind, I was pleasantly surprised. There were enough highs in most of the matches to actually make this one entertaining on the whole, though the endings of most of the matches dampened them. I do think though that Smackdown Live’s Money in the Bank PPV (pay per view) was a better one on the whole.
First, I want to say that the crowd for this PPC was ok. They seemed mostly interested in all the matches throughout, and popped at a lot of the right moments, and booed when it was necessary.
Pre-show match: Neville v. Tozawa
This match, on the whole was the third best match of the night. Neville and Tozawa gave us a good face paced, action packed match that had very few low points.
Tozawa was over from the start of the match, and that’s good because he is an amazing wrestler. This match had a good balance of high-flying, solid strikes and nice submission holds that kept me entertained throughout.
Neville is an amazing heel that doesn’t need to win by using cheap heel tactics. He could have won cleanly while making Tozawa look strong. He didn’t need to resort to the low cheap tactic trick, no matter how modified it was. Truly, the modified low blow finish was the low point of what was an amazing match. Just not necessary.
I gotta say though, I love Titus O’Neil. I am so glad that he is no longer getting punished, and that he is allowed to do something that seems so fun to him, and is putting him on the live stage again. He honestly reminds me of the managers of wrestling’s past. I think if he can get a good tag team in his stable and a good female wrestler; he will have the first solid faction in a long time in WWE wrestling.
In closing, this match should have been on the main show. Besides being better than most of the matches on the main show, it’s a title match. All title defenses should be on the main show, and NEVER on a pre-show.
3 ¾ stars
Bray Wyatt v. Seth Rollins
From the very beginning, this match felt off. I honestly think that, if this was Finn Balor v. Bray Wyatt (with their personas), this feud would have made more sense, but I digress. I do think though that both wrestlers did their best to put together a really solid match. The match started out okay, with each trying to feel their opponent out. That was until Wyatt decided to slam Rollins face into the aluminum steps. I thought it was pretty edgy that Wyatt focused a lot on Rollins face and neck area for the majority of the match. Rollins did an amazing job selling each spot, especially the DDT onto the apron; and both wrestlers sold the pseudo Rainmaker quite well. I really like how Wyatt was in full character for the whole of the match. Though he was supposed to be the heel for this match, I am actually a fan of his and am glad that he finally won a match on a RAW PPV, after a long time. In fact, this was actually one of the few finishes in this pay per view that I thought made sense, because of the way Bray was working Seth’s face and neck area the whole match.
3 stars—solid match
Enzo v. Big Cass
Even though this match needed to happen in order to blow off this feud, it was a wasted five minutes. There was no way that Vince was going to allow Big Cass to lose this match—not with him trying to give a big push behind Cass now. I just think that this whole feud could have gone another way, or not happened at all.
This whole feud was stupid. You could have had Cass get a singles push, and you could have had Enzo slowly moving into a working manager’s role, just like some managers in Major League Baseball used to also play the games. They could have had Enzo slowly moving into a manager role, while also showing his wrestling chops in the cruiserweight division. If they added Carmella and a competent tag team, called the faction G Unit, they could have the potential to rival other factions of the past like the Diamond Exchange. They could have rivaled today’s mini faction of the New Day. Instead, we got this squash match.
I gotta say though, Enzo’s promo was the stuff of legend. His mic skills are on the level of the greats such as DDP, Jericho, Michaels, etc. Honestly, I think if Enzo went to 205 Live, he could be a mic talker to rival Neville, and the move could give him a chance to show his wrestling chops, and elevate the show as a whole. If they made Enzo a working manager, he has the potential to another in a long line of great to rival the Heymans, Heenans, and DDPs of the industry. Enzo could go in quite a few directions.
In closing, I’m gonna have to get used to Big Cass’s new music. At first hearing, I didn’t like it at all. The match was what it was.
1 star for the match / 3 ½ star for the promo
The Hardys v. Cesaro and Sheamus
This was a toss-up match for me. I really like both tag teams. I’ve loved Sheamus ever since he first debuted on main. Though I had to warm up to Cesaro, I have grown to really appreciate and respect his in ring work. Also, I love that the powers that be of the WWE finally allowed some his personality to shine through in his character.
The Hardys are legends, who have more than earned their spot to become first ballot Hall of Famers when they finally hang up their boots. They have never disappointed in any match that I’ve ever seen them in, and I didn’t expect anything to change for this one.
I loved the dichotomy of this match. The Hardys felt as if they weren’t quite on the same page; while Cesar and Sheamus seemed to be popping on all cylinders and totally in sync during the progression of this match.
I loved seeing the fan in the front row who looked on in wondrous disbelief, as Sheamus kicked and beat the crap out of Jeff Hardy right in front of his seat. I also liked that the match started off right away with a pin fall by Cesaro and Sheamus, flabbergasting the Hardys and immediately putting them behind the eight ball. Indeed this match was great in showing what two amazing tag teams can do when given the time to tell a story properly. I’m not saying every match should be thirty minutes by any stretch of the imagination, but there are wrestlers on the current WWE / NXT rosters who have the potential of history making five plus star matches if given the chance.
I loved how the match ended, especially when with thirty-seven seconds left, instead of trying to wrestle and tempt getting covered, Cesaro decided to delay by making a run for it away from Jeff Hardy. There is, however, one unfortunately glaring problem with the end of this match—Cesaro wasn’t the legal person in the ring. Sheamus never tagged Cesaro in, so his pin fall on Jeff Hardy wasn’t valid. I went back and watched this match over again, and at no time did Sheamus tag Cesaro: so at most this match should have ended in a draw. Having said that, I’m guessing that this is the blow off match for this feud, and you can’t have a feud end in a tie…can you? All in all this match was a good one, even though it had a botched ending.
Sasha Banks v. Alexa Bliss
Ok, I want to start by saying that I am a huge mark for the Four Horsewomen (Banks, Bayley, Charlotte and Lynch). I also think that Alexa Bliss has come a long way since her debut on Smackdown. Though I felt that Bliss won her first championship too soon after debuting on main, she has lived up to the belt and has become a wrestler to be reckoned with, so I expected great things from this match—and they delivered.
This match was amazing. From the beginning to end, this match had me oohing and reacting with poppy glee. Man, this match was awesome! These two showed why the women are running things right now. I mean from the jump I honestly didn’t know who was going to win this match. Sasha Banks in this match showed why she is THE BOSS. Honestly, this match was just another step in her path to the Hall of Fame. The match was also a true coming out party for Bliss. She gave as good as she got to glorious success. There were no low points in this match, and the ending actually makes sense, because it’s kind of par for the course that Bliss would do anything to keep the belt—even lose a match by count out. The action after the match was awesome—the double knees off the announce table!!!
4 ½ stars
Dean Ambrose v. The Miz
Yet another match in a long list of Ambrose / Miz matches. I just truly hope this is the last match in a long line of matches because this feud is so tired and overdone.
As a wrestling fan, I am really getting tired of the two-on-one and four-on-one match with the Miz. He’s good enough that he doesn’t need his entourage to win. Seriously, it makes him look weak that he hides behind his wife, or that it takes interference from his entourage to defend his title. It’s stupid and actually is a disservice to the Miz and his wrestling prowess. He should be a cocky, arrogant SoB of a heel who talks it and walks it without needing outside interference. I think that’s what bothers me most about this feud. Besides the fact it has been going on since they both were on Smackdown and continues agonizingly on RAW.
I think Ambrose has been misrepresented in his past PPV matches of note. True, sometimes his matches are mediocre, but I don’t think this lazy, sloppy moniker is all his fault. This whole lazy thing started when Ambrose took on Brock Lesnar. I don’t think you can blame Ambrose for what happened during that match, when as we wrestling fans know, every Lesnar match of late has done the same way, including the match that happened later in the night. Ambrose is an amazing brawler style wrestler and a great seller. He truly sold that knee injury during this match.
Though the finish was inevitable, the match was ok on the whole. I just hope that this is the blow off match for this feud because honestly, this feud should have been over a long time ago. I hope I don’t have to see these two wrestle again for a LONG while.
2 ¾ stars
Braun Strowman v Roman Reigns
I think this was the second best match of the night behind the Banks / Bliss smash-up, and I’m actually kind of surprised to say that, yet it was the aftermath of this match that overshadowed the main event of the pay per view.
This match was hard-hitting and brutal—and catastrophic for the LED screens on stage. This match actually scared me in spots for the safety of the participants, and that’s a credit to the selling and skill of the wrestlers in this match.
I know most fans boo the hell out of Roman Reigns for many reasons, but none can say that it’s because he’s a bad wrestler. The knock has always been that Reigns is a bad seller. I come to realize that it may just be that he’s a realistic seller because he was selling everything that Braun was giving him. Honestly, both of these wrestlers put the current WWE Universal champion to shame in terms of what they show us in the ring. I think that if Reigns wasn’t being pushed so hard and fans, in general, realized that, he would be an amazingly over baby face, but no one can deny after this match that he doesn’t deserve his spot.
Strowman is a freak of nature. In terms of wrestling skills and athletic ability, he reminds me of a young Taker. He may be young in the game, but if he continues on this trajectory, I have no doubt that he can become one of the greats; and he is proving it with every match. In this Ambulance match, Strowman put on a clinic on what a true monster looks like in…and out of the wrestling ring.
However, I do think that the one low point of this match was the ending. They could have ended it better than just having Reigns missing a spear and sliding into the ambulance. However, as a result of the aftermath of this match, there is no way that Reigns can be seen as a face going forward. He basically tried to end a man’s life through vehicular manslaughter. I love how Jamie Noble tried to come in and use a crowbar to open that door, though he didn’t try to use it at the latch. Even the way they tried to throw together an impromptu match between Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater while showing the goings on backstage, was an adequate storyline addition. I will say though that I’m glad Balor didn’t come out to wrestle during that time, because he deserves better than a half-assed, put together match…Hell Hawkins and Slater deserved better.
4 starts for the match / 4 ½ for the aftermath
Samoa Joe v. Brock Lesnar
This match lasted nine minutes. A short match by any stretch of the imagination—if this was indeed a real match. This, however, wasn’t a real championship match. This was a Brock Lesnar title defense, which in this day and age means a little or no offense by the opponent…or defense for that matter. Then a bunch of suplexes and pin fall—match over. Look, I’m sure in the past Lesnar looked fondly on wrestling in the WWE. Back then, he actually tried to have good matches, and as a fan, I felt that he cared about it all; but something has happened during the time when he left. Since returning to pro wrestling, it is clear that he is just there for the money. He doesn’t seem to care about entertaining anyone—not even himself. Lesnar did exactly four moves over and over again during this match. Joe was his best monster self, and it seemed that he really tried to make the match something, but he failed a bit.
This match, on the whole, was predictable, regardless of what Joe tried to do with a predictably sad, crap ending. I knew from the moment this match was announced that Lesnar was going to win. Hell, I knew before the Fatal Five-Way took place that Lesnar was going to win this match. Sad.
3 ½ stars for Joe / 1 ½ for Lesnar
In closing, instead of being the Great Balls of Fire PPV; this should have been the Bad Blood pay per view. This PPV exemplified Bad Blood feuds for the most part. Especially the Banks/Bliss, Strowman/Reigns and Joe/Lesnar matches personified Bad Blood. Again, I really didn’t like the name of this pay per view. It really doesn’t make sense at all. There was a variety of hit and miss matches. I will say though that the WWE should limit the feud recaps to the go home show and the pre-show, because they are REALLY taking away from the flow of the PPVs. Those minutes could go to the matches that they are recapping. Also please stop with the commercials during matches. It really takes away from the match, and fans/customers are missing a lot of the action. Also just for me, but the guy in the front row with the Trinidad and Tobago flag was very distracting throughout the pay per view. I actually found myself wondering during the pay per view what that flag represented. So much so that I actually looked it up the next day.
Tell me what you thought about this pay per view…or pro wrestling in general? What do you think of the current state of WWE pay per views?
Banks and Cass were great, though Cass seemed to go a bit over the top in spots in a bad way. I stopped watching when the Miz came in with his entourage.